February 28, 2010

THOSE THAT INSPIRE.......Nashville

The Nashville Garden and Antique Show 
Part two..........'The People of Nashville.'
Sorry for the silence, have been away on business, a landscape conference in California
(wait until you see those pictures)

As promised I wanted to share with you the individuals that made the trip so worthwhile. Those that inspire both creativity and generosity. 

First presentation;

Construction began in 1096, was purchased by the current family, the Percy's in 1309 and later honored as the Duke and Duchesses' of Northumberland, it's region.
Many films including the Harry Potter series have filmed here.

Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland and family moved to the castle upon the unexpected death of her husband's brother. The once proud gardens were long since abandoned and derelict. This one-woman force possessed a dream; revive and re-create the gardens beyond all expectations.  Within 13 years the Duchess has displayed a steel reserve, rebounded a suffering local economy, her design collaborations included unimaginable forethought for children, the elderly, handicapped and the "down-trodden".............all typically excluded from garden visiting, a national past time in England.

Notice children and the elderly interacting.
All funding was from private and public fund raising efforts plus a nice stipend from her reluctant but supportive husband. The Duchess does not earn a penny from this legacy.

Visual beauty is an equal component

Her "safely dangerous" poison garden. A collection of plants that kill and cure. Carefully monitored and guarded, children in particular learn about the dangers of drug abuse and the miracle of drugs.

This extraordinary woman could merit several posts, her story is amazing. for additional information go here.

Presenter number 2

Renown Interior Designer Michael S. Smith. of Southern California

You may recall his recent commission, The White House and found your interest peaked.

An approachable demeanor with a self-deprecating sense of humor brought him down to earth despite being the designer "to the stars".

Bedroom with hand painted mural in the tradition of Msr. Zuber.
I was stunned to learn that his first commission was from the first female head of a film studio and he was twenty three years old!
How does that happen?!

Some of his shared thoughts;

-Prefers his rooms to develop a "layered" look; mirrors on tapestry, sea grass over orientals...
-Disdains wall to wall carpeting
-Bigger is NOT better in regards to home building (YES!!)
-Major influence is Albert Hadley
-Define the architecture and spirit of the house, let that be your guideline

Presenter number 3

Slightly eccentric garden designer extraordinare  Ryan Gainey of Atlanta

Designs landscapes with great depth and in the English tradition of "rooms" versus expansive lawns. His mentor was the late Rosemary Verey.

Structure is a key design component; stone, wood and boxwood are his primary components.

A glimpse of his rear garden in Decatur, Georgia. Notice the neatly clipped climbing ivy framing the greenhouse windows. Seemingly strong willed he admits that his clients must..........
"understand the force of HIS nature."  Visit him here.

The lovely Lizzy, a friend and amazing jewelry craftswoman. Displaying at the venue, Lizzy's jewelry transports me to a time of elegance but with a contemporary edge. Visit her here.

All pieces are utilizing "found" objects but it's the assemblage that takes her art to an inspiring level.

The favorites in my personal collection are from Lizzy and they are the bits that spark liveliest conversation

Joyce Scruggs, one of my blog subscribers, former home builder......over 60 homes! (I happen to think more homes should be designed and built by women), hostess extraordinaire, tremendously fun and energetic.

Joyce, originally hailing from Illinois read that we were coming to Nashville for the show. This darling woman called her sister Shirley, one of our clients, in Illinois, Joan a sister from Colorado and Trish, a local friend of Joyce's in Nashville to gather and welcome us.

They wanted to invite my group to her home and demonstrate true southern hospitality.I am still amazed!

Never have I been more welcomed into someone's home. Check this out....a pastry covered baked brie. See what I mean about welcoming....my company's initials in puff pastry! 


The perfectly set desert table with individual banana puddings in the handled basket.


                                             Our hostesses and tour attendees

Having lost 6 camera's in 2009, yes...6....i was down to a low level point n' shoot which is a shame as the details of this gorgeous home are lost...and half were too blurry for use.

L to R;  Shirley (sister), Sally, Joyce (our hostess), Susan (Sally's sister), Ardie and Carole
At the door upon saying our "good-bye's" was a platter with these parting gifts!

Back home with a better camera...........glassine containers filled with three mini muffins. Friend Trish, made the charming wrapping with a die-cutting craft machine.

February 17, 2010



We are back!  The perfect time of year to escape and think spring while enjoying inspiring display gardens, eye popping antiques, extraordinary speakers and genuine southern hospitality. The grand entrance garden above is difficult to capture on film and was created by Ryan Gainey; designer of great merit and one of the featured speakers.

Mr. Gainey's structural elements included willow and in this case a 'wattle fence' and "grounding" with boxwoods.

Raised willow beds up close

Willow structure. Note the varying size of the willow used and the intricate patterns
ESPALIERS (pronounced;  'S PALL YEAH' ) the training of trees or shrubs onto a flat structure. Originally developed in Europe when space was limited, and primarily with fruit bearing trees. They were planted and trained against a wall, this method produces an over-abundance of fruit.
Here it is trained into a free-standing arbor.
An interesting display with varying levels, a water feature, spring and winter plantings, beautiful stone with creeping thyme scenting the pathways.
The greater the distance for falling water, the louder the sound.
Elements of a courtyard
A contemporary garden. Take note of the repetition of the "diamond" shape in this garden.
(not easily detected here but the limestone floor is laid in a diamond pattern)
Back "wall"
Up close. The glass block squares repeat the design, reflect light and provide some privacy while still allowing for cooling airflow.
The vendors come from all over the world. From the wildly...."what are they thinking" expensive to the affordable "I'll take twelve!"
These terra cotta pots are hand made, fired to 1800 degrees, are frost proof and reasonably priced.
Finds from Belgium
Having good taste..... is a curse......I slowly backed away from the lovely 18th century chest priced at $53,000.00!
Architectural elements still reign.

How many of these shows have you been to with a centrally located bartender?! 
One of the best Bloody Mary's I have ever sipped
Two of the ladies on our excursion. Delores on the left and friend, Linda on the right

To walk this show I had to pass this booth with a pair of these GORGEOUS chalkboards, constantly. Note the hardware at the top and the three dimensional nature from not resting on the wall. These were the first thing my eyes landed on upon opening......

dealer;  "SORRY, SOLD!"
me; "how, the show just opened?" 
dealer; "Oh before the preview movie stars and country stars are allowed in for two hours. Martina McBride bought both."   


 Interesting display; white tulips, a few sticks and short handled brushes! Yes, brushes.....look closely at the photo above.

Another great display.....massive cutting board with a stack of small antlers.

PART TWO..........next post...............THE PEOPLE OF THE NASHVILLE TRIP
Speakers;   Duchess of Northumberland
                  Michael S. Smith
                  Ryan Gainey

artisan:        Lizzy, jeweler to the stars

Hostess;      Joyce Scruggs and sisters

                                                MY FIVE FAVORITE PASSIONS FROM THE SHOW

                                          Creative use of REPURPOSED ELEMENTS

                                            In this case mossy drain tiles artfully arranged. Wouldn't this be
                                            great with a variety of succulents, set on pea-gravel?

Mad for vintage signs used indoors and out. The Dentist sign came home with me and can be found in the shop, for sale!

                                                            VIVID COLOR COMBINATIONS
As a whole we tend to shy away from orange, but.......give it a chance to brighten your borders or containers. Paired with blue and chartreuse is eye-popping

In all shapes and varieties

                                                               WEATHER VANE ORNAMENTS
They are silent storytellers. Who had a cockerel made and why? The upper class and tradesmen's ornaments spoke of a trade, family history or a passion. This lovely one caught my eye. The price?  $29,500.00


 A treasured friend and record holding Pastry Chef,  Msr. Alain Roby,  has produced his first cookbook. Even I, the baking impaired, can produce beautiful and original sweets. Record holding???? Yes, multiple times and if you can, check out the Martha Stewart show thursday the 18th, Alain will be on the show.   Hope you can join us
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